Wayfinders | Brian Chick


Coming March 12th, 2024 from Blackstone Publishing; 350 pages

Content Warning: Violence, portrayal of anxiety/OCD, death

About the Author: “I’m the author of The Secret Zoo series, which has sold almost a million copies and been translated into numerous foreign languages. I have two new series being released in 2024: The Super Sports Society (Andrews McMeel Publishing) and Wayfinders (Blackstone Publishing). If you liked The Secret Zoo, you’ll like both of these series! 

Some facts about my books. The idea of The Secret Zoo came to me when I was just nine years old. And I worked on Wayfinders for five years!  A bunch of stuff in The Super Sports Society really happened, which goes to show the strange life I’ve had. A Turd Tank, really? Yes.

I live in Clarkston, Michigan with my wife and four kids. When I’m not writing, I’m usually hanging out with like-minded peers at schools around the nation” (Bio from author’s website).

Find Bryan Chick on the following platforms:

“Chloe feels the wind in her face, the mane in her fingers, and the hope in her chest. She keeps her head up and her gaze facing forward. It feels like the world is watching.
I’m here, world. This is me.

Chloe’s life takes a dramatic turn one stormy night when a crew of mythical creatures barge into her family home. These magical intruders draw Chloe and her incredibly anxious father into a magical quest to return to their homeland, the whimsical world of Brynmoor, and save Adrina, a mermaid who is suffering from being so far from water. The eccentric cast of characters finds themselves involved in a variety of antics and adventures on their return to Brynmoor, which can only be accessed by a hidden portal. Throughout this quest, Chloe and her father rescue not only these mythical beings but also themselves; they are forced to come to terms with the unresolved issues that have affected their lives and their relationship to one another.

From the very first page, Wayfinders drew me in, and I felt so immersed in the story that at times it was like I was watching a movie. The book effectively balanced heart-pounding action with heartwarming relationships, and I appreciated Chick’s portrayal of the healing process. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that this adventure is just as beneficial for Chloe and her father as is for the characters trying to return home. Their relationship is strained following a riding accident that led to the death of Chloe’s horse and the intensification of Chloe’s father’s anxiety. Chloe constantly expresses annoyance with her father and his anxious/obsessive-compulsive tendencies, but she is very attuned to his emotions and concerns. The understanding the two have of one another shows that no matter how much loved ones might get on one’s nerves, a profound care for them will always exist. The courage these two show in a myriad of ways is truly inspiring for readers of all ages. From the beauty of these character depictions stems one of my only critiques of the novel: in some cases, I wish certain characters and/or plot points had been explored in further detail. Elements of character backstory were sprinkled throughout the piece but often never elaborated on, leaving me wanting to know more about the world Chick built. Overall, I appreciated the full-circle resolution of the novel, which demonstrated that, while healing is not linear, it is possible with the help of a strong and caring support system. 

I would recommend this book to all middle-grade readers. Wayfinders contains a vivid cast of characters that tell a compelling story of love, family, friendship, and courage. 

Wayfinders releases on March 12, 2024.

Pine Reads Review would like to thank Blackstone Publishing for sending us an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change before final publication.

Sam Parker, Pine Reads Review Writer